Thursday, July 15, 2004

The first party for D&D's 30th anniversary

Wizards of the Coast is celebrating the 30th anniversary of D&D all this year, but the party—sort of a launch for the celebrating season, I guess—is this afternoon. (I'm writing at almost 2 a.m.; I'll explain why in a sec.) I figure this will be the first party to celebrate this event, to be followed by a big party at GenCon and then Worldwide D&D Day on October 2nd, which will be celebrated in game stores around the world. Hey, 30 years is a lot to celebrate.

So we're having a company-wide party this afternoon, in the courtyard at the center of our office buildings. But when this was first announced, I posted to an internal message board for RPG R&D that we'd be doing something wrong if we didn't, as a department, actually play D&D that day. Then I made the mistake of mentioning it again in a department meeting this week. So on Tuesday, I got permission to coordinate just such a game, which I'll be running in the morning.

The adventure, such as it is, should be fun. We're playing from 9:30 to 12 (when the party starts)—not a very long time, so I tried to keep it simple. But I also wanted to suggest the momentousness of the occasion by hearkening back to the early history of the game, as well as use some of the cool Giants of Legend minis we're all collecting at this point. So I'm doing a pastiche of Against the Giants, in four encounters—Steading of the Hill Giant Chief (fight Nosnra and his hill giant and ogre buddies!), Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl (this one's just the Jarl with a couple of winter wolves), Hall of the Fire Giant King (Snurre and a couple of fire giants), and "Vault of the Drow" (Eclavdra and some drow lieutenants). I've got a couple of interstitial encounters in case these ones go more quickly than I anticipate—but that would surprise me a great deal, since I told people to bring 9th-level characters, and these encounters start at EL 11 and go up from there. But I'm pretty much figuring on running a whole big batch of PCs, which should help keep them alive. So that's why I'm up so darned late—finishing up the stats for the drow, primarily. And watch—they won't even get that far. You wait and see. There is no logical explanation for why I'm posting now, however. Now that I'm done statting out all the giant rulers and drow nasties, I should be flopped in bed getting some sleep.

Thirty years of D&D. Man, that means I've been playing for 25 years—yeah, my personal gaming anniversary has probably just passed quite recently, unobserved and unremembered. Yep, I started playing in 1979 with this boxed set, a few months before my 11th birthday. I must have bought the fourth printing, according to this page. That's pretty cool. They sure were reprinting them quickly.

But who knows how many copies were in each print run? It's hard to prove, but general opinion around the office is that, despite the nostalgia with which the media typically approach D&D these days, it's actually bigger now than it was in the '80s. As in, more people playing, more people buying our books, a larger community of gamers than in the years that were supposedly D&D's height. 

Yeah, OK, that sleep thing is sounding pretty good right now.

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